On 21 February 2022, the Government published guidance: COVID-19 response: living with COVID-19, which applies only in England. The coronavirus restrictions, which have been in place for the past two years are being phased out by the government, it is therefore important that employers understand the revised government guidance and their associated health and safety responsibilities.
- 24 February: adults and children who test positive continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. After 5 days, they may choose to take a Lateral Flow Test followed by another the next day – if both are negative, and they do not have a temperature, they can safely return to their normal routine. Those who test positive should avoid contact with anyone in an at-risk group, including if they live in the same household.
- 24 March: the COVID-19 provisions within Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations will end. People with COVID-19 may still be eligible, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement.
- 1 April: the Government will update all guidance, and will set out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people.
- The Government will no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England. There will be some limited ongoing free testing. Limited symptomatic testing will be available for a small number of at-risk groups (eligibility details to follow). However free symptomatic testing will remain available to social care staff.
- It will also remove the current guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-status certification and will no longer recommend that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass will remain available within the NHS App for a limited period, to support the use of certification in other parts of the UK. The NHS App will continue to allow individuals to access their vaccination status for international travel, as well as their recovery status for travel to those overseas destinations that recognise it.
- The Government will replace the existing set of ‘Working Safely’ guidance with new public health guidance. Employers should continue to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
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